The German band Brain:FAQ was the warm-up
band of the night. I had heard many praises about this band, especially about their female
bassist who is supposed to be hardly taller than her bass guitar. However, she was
temporarily replaced for this festival so I didn't get the chance to see for myself. The
music of Brain:FAQ might be described as a mix of Soulfly, Machinehead and Coal Chamber.
It's like playing metal on a bumpy road while screaming along. The band tried to get some
interaction with the crowd, but it was rather a tame show from what I expected and it
wasn't always as tight as it could be. They were probably still tired of the previous
night and weary from the journey to Holland. The set list was dominated by the new tunes
from the Nutze Die Zeit album. Songs like Be Free and Solange ruled though, and they also
played a Soulfly cover.
This festival also had meet & greet
sessions with all four bands. Just after the Brain:FAQ show it was the Dutch band
Slechtvalk to do this first. People could have a chat with them, or buy signed photos and
stuff like that. In the meanwhile Lightmare, the next band, was preparing on stage. The
sound of their song Terrion (from The Fool album) lured me to the stage again. Great power
metal! Lightmare played a set with a lot of songs from the past. No wonder as their last
album dates back from 1997. There were also some older tracks like Crusader and the title
track from the 1995 album Vampires. Yet the band didn't have the same attraction as the
power metal band Seventh Avenue that graced the Fear Dark stage last year. To my idea the
band played on the automatic pilot too much, with too little interaction with the crowd.
Nice music, though. The crowd, however, demanded an encore, just like they did from every
band. One of the highlights was the cover of Messiah from Bloodgood.
One of the most anticipated shows on the
festival was Slechtvalk's. While they have their third CD out, this was going to be their
first official concert in The Netherlands. They were also the only band from The
Netherlands and many people in the crowd were already familiar with the members of the
band. Now it was the first time to see them live. For this show I had positioned myself to
the side of the hall where I didn't have the best sound but was able to see what actually
happened on stage (as long as the smoke machine wasn't working overtime like it often
did!). There were so many people crowding up in front of the stage that it was almost
impossible to get up front without getting bumped into or worse. So, from a comfortable
spot I was spectator of the show. Unfortunately I wasn't able to recognize all the songs
they played. It was a show mainly featuring songs from the last album The War That Plagues
The Land, including Burying The Dead, And Thus It Burns, From Behind The Trees and In
Paradisum. What I missed musically, was partially compensated for what I saw. The members
had warpaint on (except soprano Fionnghuala) for a grim look. They also addressed the
audience in English which was, as I understood it, part of the performance. I would've
preferred it Dutch anyway. They also had a female dancer in a bunch of songs while
Fionnghuala was adorning the stage with her mystical presence too. Unfortunately keyboard
player Sorgier had left Slechtvalk so they didn't have a full band. Bassplayer Nath did
some of the keyboard parts. Overall, it was nice to see people I personally know (one more
than the other) on stage. But my favorite band on the festival was yet to come.
There were so many people at the festival
I knew and wanted to talk with, that I never reached the room where the Brain:FAQ and
Lightmare meet & greet sessions were held at the same time. The first tones of
Frostmind invited me back to the stage to see the Finnish winter metalheads of Immortal
Souls. In between songs their singer Aki Särkioja was talking to the crowd in a very cool
tone that perfectly fitted the atmosphere of the band. Their music is often a mix of power
metal with vocals that are a blend of a death growl and a black metal shriek.
Unfortunately the lead vocals fell away sometimes. Yet their set was most professional
looking/sounding from all four bands. They played both songs from the album Ice Upon The
Night which was released just a few days prior to the festival, as songs from previous
recordings. A song from the split-EP with Mordecai was welcomed warmly by the crowd. Also
Immortal Souls played their encore and that marked the end of the second edition of the
Fear Dark Festival.
Fortunately, I was offered a ride home
from Ralf and Miriam (thanks!). While we were getting out, we were witnesses to Slechtvalk
guitarist Ohtar spitting fire just outside. He had great fun doing it. However, the smell
of burned hair made him realize that he wasn't only setting fire to the sky! He lost half
an inch of his long beard!
A whole bunch of photos can be found on
the photo page of Ben Pardijs.
A whole bunch of photos can be found on
the photo page of André J.C.